From time to time I will meet wonderful Christian people who ask if they can pray for me. If you are reading this post because I asked you to read it before praying for me then may I say “Thank You!” for hearing these words with an open heart. I really appreciate your desire to see me healed and whole but I’m going to challenge your thinking a bit first.
Why I Am Writing This
There are many difficult things about having a debilitating disease. One thing that you wouldn’t expect is that the actions of well meaning people would cause more harm than good when it comes to their desire to see me healed. I’ve been prayed for many times, had many hands laid on me, had many people who claim to have the gift of healing and told me stories of miraculous healing… and yet, I am not healed.
Many have quoted scripture verses that appear to show that God heals everyone (if they have enough faith of course). What do you suppose it feels like when someone who:
- Claims to have the gift of healing
- Has healed others of terrible diseases
- Says that God wants to heal everyone
Prays for you and then you are not healed?
I can tell you that it feels like it is your fault. Nobody says that, but if the group of Christians you are meeting with believes this then you feel awkward around them. The fact that you are not healed must be because you have a lack of faith or some secret sin. Again, nobody says this but you can tell from their words and actions that at least some of them believe it.
The best way to ensure that I will not be a part of your bible study group or church fellowship is to hound me about healing. If you
- Make it a regular practice to talk up healing
- Ask people to submit to dozens of hands laid on them for healing
- Tell stories about healings that may or may not be factual
I probably won’t be a part of your group for long.
The first thing I ask is that you respect my feelings in this matter. Being sick is hard enough without having to feel like a failure as a Christian because I’m not healed.
Respect God’s Sovereignty
sov·er·eign·ty (sŏv′ər-ĭn-tē, sŏv′rĭn-)
Supremacy of authority or rule as exercised by a sovereign or sovereign state.
Who decides if I am healed or not?
- Is it you?
- Is it me?
- Is it God?
Jesus and the apostles healed many people but they did not heal everyone who was sick. All around them people got sick and died. Throughout 2,000 years of Christianity as far as I know, every Christian that ever was has died.
- You are born
- You live a few years
- You get sick
- You die
This seems to be the normal pattern of life for Christians and non-Christians alike. Even people who were raised from the dead in scripture would later get sick and die. Regardless of what others have told you, you do not have the power of life and death in your hands. You cannot simply declare that I am not sick and then tell me to believe it.
In the 19th century Mary Baker Eddy the founder of Christian Science taught her followers that sickness was an illusion.
This includes the view that disease is a mental error rather than physical disorder, and that the sick should be treated, not by medicine, but by a form of prayer that seeks to correct the beliefs responsible for the illusion of ill health
In other words, she taught people to deny the facts of their illness and simply claim that they were not sick. This is remarkably similar to the teaching of 20th century Christian teachers who say that the sickness is simply an illusion brought on by the devil and that through faith we can make it go away.
If you want to pray for me, I ask that you respect God’s Sovereignty over my life and body.
Does not the potter have the right to make out of the same lump of clay some pottery for noble purposes and some for disposal of refuse? (Romans 9:21)
God is the potter. He has the right to do whatever he wants to with the clay. I know that is hard to accept, believe me, I’ve had to accept it. The truth is that one day all of us will have to accept (unless we die very suddenly) the fact that our bodies are not going to last forever. Yes, perhaps mine is failing sooner than it should but who are we to say?
If you respect God’s sovereignty over my body
- Don’t assume that God’s will is to heal me. It might not be.
- Don’t pretend that you are casting out a demon and command the disease to leave me or command my tumors to dissolve. Nobody in scripture casts out a disease, they only cast out demons.
- Don’t slap me, shake me or push be down because you like the energy of dramatic physical motion.
- Don’t keep nagging me about healing every time I talk to you. When you do that, it makes me want to avoid you.
- Do pray that God would ease my suffering
- Do pray that God would help me to remain faithful to the end
- Do ask God to heal me if it is his will
- Do accept the fact the God may decide to use me in this frail body as it is until the day that he heals me through death.
Learn What The New Testament Really Teaches About Healing
Much of what you think you know about healing is just unbiblical baggage that you picked up along the way. If you think you have the gift of healing, don’t go to someone’s book on healing, get out your bible and study it. If you want to pray for me then here is your assignment.
- Pray for me on your own. I don’t have to be present or listening when you pray. Jesus healed without even coming near to the Centurion’s Servant (Matt 8:5-13).
- Read my blog posts about healing and tell me what your opinion of my arguments is. I am not God and I most certainly don’t always get it right.
I appreciate the fact that you want to heal me. Sadly, many other disabled people I have spoken with tell me that they are often assaulted by people who believe that the Holy Spirit has directed them to pray for their healing.
Nobody wants to be the guy who says “No, actually I don’t want you to pray for my healing.” So I won’t be that guy, I will just ask that you respect my wishes when praying.